Expo brings career opportunities to Franklin County Technical School students

  • Franklin County Technical School student Hunter Drost talks with Massachusetts State Police Troopers Farrah Grey, seated, and Jessie Barbosa at a career expo on Monday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Students attend a career expo on Monday under a tent at Franklin County Technical School in Montague. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Kathrine Letourneau and Matt Bickford of GS Precision out of Brattleboro, Vt., talk with Franklin County Technical School students Quinn Halpin and Miguel Clapp at a career expo on Monday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 5/24/2021 5:27:14 PM

MONTAGUE — Franklin County Technical School’s career expo, usually held in November, would have been canceled this year because of the pandemic. But there was so much demand for new workers that it was rescheduled at the last minute for this spring.

“I’ve been getting phone calls like crazy,” said Raye Young, Franklin County Technical School’s co-op coordinator. “There’s a huge demand for employees.”

About 25 employers were at the school’s career expo Monday. The range of jobs available roughly covers the topics of the school’s 12 vocational classes, Young said.

Employers are looking not only for full-time employees to hire after graduation, but also interns to work part time.

The career expo typically is only open to seniors. But this year, because of the unusual timing, it was also open to juniors who may be looking for an internship, or may just be learning about options for the future, Young said.

For some students, the expo is more of a learning experience than a part of a job search.

“The kids don’t know what to expect,” Young explained. “They always leave going, ‘Wow, I didn’t realize.’ They have these ‘a-ha’ moments with these companies that they didn’t even know existed, even though they’re close by and they drive by them all the time.”

“I’m finding out a lot of new things,” agreed Chad Adams, a junior in Franklin Tech’s welding shop class.

Amid the pandemic, students who are approaching graduation have likely had fewer opportunities to explore potential jobs than they would have in a more normal year, Young said.

“This gives them an opportunity to explore in a safe place,” she said.

The employers at the career expo are mostly local to Franklin County, Young said. Some are connected to the larger region, such as various military organizations.

Although the employers correspond to the school’s vocational shop classes, many are open to students from different backgrounds, and students are encouraged to explore.

“I’ve had kids from pretty much every program stop by and ask really good questions,” said Alicia Zilske, who was at the expo representing Yankee Family Dialysis, a medical service provider in Greenfield.

“This is a great way to get people in on the ground floor,” Zilske said. “Even if they don’t stay with us forever, which I hope they do, it at least gives them skills. These are motivated kids. They had to work hard to get here.”

Melissa Herron-Clark, a junior in Franklin Tech’s electrical program, said she was looking at a variety of jobs, which were not all directly connected to her studies.

“I feel like I learned quite a bit,” she said. “Asking questions helps a lot.”

Reach Max Marcus at mmarcus@recorder.com or 413-930-4231.


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